by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“The American government wants to expand its hegemony over the center of energy in the world, which is the Middle East,” said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a Manhattan dinner with mainly American peace and justice advocates. Iran considers weapons of mass destruction to be forbidden under Islam. All the talk of war is merely a cloak for America’s imperial ambitions.
Talking Peace and Justice with Ahmadinejad
by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“The United States is merely ‘seeking excuses in order to perpetuate animosity to Iran [which] started from the day the Iranian people completed the revolution’ in 1979.”
“The doctrine of empires is being destroyed. It cannot be reconstructed,” said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seated at the dais in a large meeting room of the Warwick Hotel, in Manhattan, Tuesday night. “Human relations and the international equation are moving in the direction where the power of weapons is not determinative. Did it save the Soviet Union from being dismantled?”
A couple of seats away, the Nation of Islam’s Min. Louis Farrakhan beamed. He was among a hundred or so guests of the Iranian Embassy, gathered for the last of Ahmadinejad’s yearly sessions with mainly American peace and justice proponents during the opening week of the United Nations General Assembly. “If there ever was a time for the family of Abraham to come together to speak with one voice, the time is now,” said Farrakhan, many of whose ministers were seated among Mennonites, Iranian Muslim clerics, Jews, Catholics and a conservative evangelical Baptist mega-church pastor from Texas who intoned, “If we really believe in the God that we say we believe in, we must work for peace.”
Consumers of U.S. corporate media have become acclimated to the inevitability of a military assault against Iran, by Israel alone or in league with the U.S., ostensibly to destroy an Iranian nuclear weapons program that all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies say was halted almost a decade ago. But Ahmadinejad and several Shiite religious leaders insisted that a nuclear-armed Iran is unthinkable; that Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons; and that, as religious scholar Muhammad Sawar informed the dinner guests, “the production of weapons of mass destruction is legalized murder…prohibited in Islam.”
“Consumers of U.S. corporate media have become acclimated to the inevitability of a military assault against Iran.”
Phil Wilayto, of Richmond, Virginia’s Defenders of Freedom, Justice & Equality, spoke of the need to “break through the barrage of demonic propaganda” against Iran. “Malcolm X said the Black community has the right to defend itself by any means necessary,” said Wilayto. “But Iran does not claim that right, because it believes killing innocents is impermissible.”
Ever since the August morning in 1945 when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the U.S. has refused to rule out an atomic first strike against a nuclear or non-nuclear power. For Washington, mass human annihilation is always on the table – as it is for nuclear-armed Israel, whose leaders howl that Iran represents a threat to its very existence.
Koranic prohibitions aside, why shouldn’t Iran seek a deterrent against those that make no secret of their intentions to attack them? Former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark seemed to pose that question. “A non-nuclear power, when threatened by a nuclear power, has no real means to protect their people,” said the 84-year-old anti-war activist. Yet, all nations have the “right to protect themselves…to develop the means to protect themselves.”
For President Ahmadinejad, “talk of nuclear war has become tiresome, it has become repetitive.” The United States is merely “seeking excuses in order to perpetuate animosity to Iran [which] started from the day the Iranian people completed the revolution” in 1979. “The American government,” he said, “wants to expand its hegemony over the center of energy in the world, which is the Middle East.” The Euro-American embargo on trade with Iran and U.S. threats of war are simply cloaks for imperial geopolitical ambitions.
“Production of weapons of mass destruction is legalized murder…prohibited in Islam.”
President Obama, like George Bush, labels Iran a rogue nation that has become “isolated” in the world. If that’s true, nobody told the 120 nations of the Non-Aligned Movement, which unanimously supported Iran’s right to develop the full cycle of nuclear energy. The non-aligned countries comprise a majority of the Earth’s population and two-thirds of the UN General Assembly. However, the permanent members of the UN Security Council run the show.
That must, and will, change, Ahmadinejad told his guests:
“Any time there is war or transgression, a member of the Security Council is present. So, who is there to complain to?
“The United Nations was created to manage world affairs…but management is under how many [countries]? One? Two? Three? If we want to establish justice, everyone must participate…equal participation in the management of the world.”
It is a message with which the vast bulk of humanity agrees – which is why the Non-Aligned Nations took its stand, and why the United States and its imperial junior partners have few cards to play other than war and threats of war. Peace is the last thing on Washington’s agenda, as the Euro-American crucifixion of Libya, and now Syria, attests. Stanley Klein, a “Jewish lawyer” who spoke at the Iranian dinner, had it right: “If the U.S. cannot convert a country into a client state, then it prefers a weak or failed state.”
At this stage in history, the United States exerts all its energies to make the world fail. With each passing day, more and more people of the Earth come to the realization that, for humanity to succeed, the U.S. empire must be dismantled.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].